Monday, December 14, 2009

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC #1 is open for pre-orders.

While I'm sure we'll find the edge cases that lurk and wait to bite, no orders are getting mangled or lost. So: BULL SPEC #1 is open for pre-orders: http://www.bullspec.com/order.

[And source code for the Google App Engine to Paypal ExpressCheckout portion of the site is available on GitHub: bullpay.py]

While any feedback would be great, in particular:

  1. Is having a pre-filled "suggested" gift appropriate? If not, should it be "0" or "empty" -- with "empty" requiring some value to be entered before submitting the form?
  2. Do the gift buttons (0, less, more, roundup, enter my own, suggest) make sense?
  3. Would a "pre-confirmation" page be better or worse? It would fit in between the order form and navigating to Paypal. We started with such a page but took it out.

Thanks! We even had one pre-order already this afternoon!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pardon the mess; Getting ready for pre-orders.

Pardon the mess, folks. There will be some intermittent issues at bullspec.com and www.bullspec.com -- and potentially the e-mails @bullspec.com -- while we roll over some DNS records in preparation for opening a simple site to start accepting pre-orders for the print issue. We've found our printing partner and finalized our first-run costs ($3/copy: 64 lovely full-size glossy pages, pull-out-able serialized graphic novel in full color in the middle if we can close on that in time), and are now working to finalize our payment processing partners. We do know the "price" for the first issue will be "$3 + $postage + $?" (no stinking "handling") where the "$?" is up to you -- yes, $0 is more than awesome. YES: $0 is more than awesome! We'll have a nice list of content for the first issue put together "real soon now" as well, but one thing that won't be in there: a single paid advertisement. (If you see something that looks like an ad; it's more a 'flyer' to somebody we want to thank or something we've heard about that we just plain like. Maybe everyone else in the world thinks these are "ads;" fair enough.)

While we don't know a couple of things (still working on that cover art decision and a few last sections of content), a bit more info on the preorder process, particularly our refund policy:
  • Before we go to press (mid January): up to and including full refunds (cost plus postage plus gratuity) with no questions asked. (Just please don't preorder with the intention of doing this, OK? Thanks. If it's a change in financial situation we'd ask, if possible, to only refund the gratuity portion, if any, as the main purpose of the preorder is to get the right size for the first printing. But we will respect your decision in this area.)
  • After we go to press: Please, no refund requests unless you don't receive the magazine by the end of February. (The first go at labeling and shipping might be slow.)
  • After you receive the magazine: If you hate it; let's talk about it and work out a refund and the passing on of your copy (local library donation, return, etc.) (And again, just please don't order with the intention of doing this. All else? We'll be cool.)
For bookstores and other shops crazy enough to jump aboard this early: talk to us! We have a few ideas for how we'd prefer to work with you but would be thrilled to hear about anything you'd have in mind. Particularly if you're local we can be very, very flexible on how we handle stocking and returns. And if you're willing to offer the 'zine for our "$3+$?" "cover price" -- we'll practically bend over backwards to make it work.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Looking for a serialized graphic novel for the 2010 run.

OK. Let's do this. BULL SPEC is looking for a 4 issue (2-4 full size pages each) spec fiction related comic for the 2010 run. Reprints OK. PG to low PG-13 rating. For original work: Not pro advance payment for comics at this time, but the text will be advanced at $0.05/word along with some additional advance for the art, though not at "a picture is a thousand words" as we would all like, not yet. But not insulting, and BULL SPEC will revert its share of all royalties to the authors until a pro advance is met. (Regular share after.) Contact editors@bullspec.com if interested.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC #1 will include a feature on: game designer and author Lee Hammock.

Rounding out our interviews for BULL SPEC #1 will be game designer and author Lee Hammock, currently Lead Game Designer on the RPG/FPS hybrid MMOG Fallen Earth for Cary, North Carolina-based Icarus Studios. We're very much looking forward to sitting down with him and talking about his writing, gaming both digital and tabletop, Fallen Earth, and what's next.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC #1 will include a feature on D. Harlan Wilson.

While for the most part we're about to enter "stealth mode" as we get ready for the late January first issue, there are a few more things we're just too excited about to keep under wraps. For today, we're very pleased indeed to announce that BULL SPEC #1 will include an expanded feature on award-winning novelist, short story writer, cultural theorist, and screenwriter D. Harlan Wilson, including an interview and reviews of his latest novel (Peckinpah: An Ultraviolent Romance) and his latest nonfiction book (Technologized Desire: Selfhood & the Body in Postcapitalist Science Fiction). More to come? You bet.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC #1 will be including some articles, reviews and interviews, including an interview of: Jennifer Bedell & Zachary Boyd of Durham's Sci-Fi Genre Comics & Games.

While some other things are still too much in the pending stage, we're pleased to announce that due to such great response so far, we're going to move to a full e-zine format a little ahead of schedule. To that end, we've started tracking down some articles, reviews, and interviews to include in BULL SPEC #1 in January, and we're even more pleased to announce that our first interview will be of Jennifer Bedell & Zachary Boyd of Durham's Sci-Fi Genre Comics & Games.

Slight updates to guidelines. Status.

We've made some updates to our guidelines and wanted to briefly highlight them:
  1. Explanation of logarithmic word count share for anthologies;
  2. We will accept attachments of any kind (as long as we can read them!) in future submissions periods;
  3. We will accept two story submissions per author, per submissions period, to avoid a common occurrence this time around of having already accepted a story on one or the other side of the speculative fiction spectrums and not giving enough time for a follow-up submission;
  4. Capped the first advance payment (upon acceptance) at $50, with the remainder still payable at publication; this allows us greater flexibility in making selections further in advance of publication, and only effects stories longer than 2000 words.
Also, we're very, very close to closing out this submissions period. You've overwhelmed us, to be honest, with great submissions and made our jobs more difficult than we dared to hope. We appreciate everyone's patience so much as we've gotten started on this crazy journey.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sneak Peek: "La Arquitectura de la Luna" (the Spanish translation of Joe Meno's "The Architecture of the Moon").

I thought you might also enjoy a sneak peek into the progress of the Spanish translation for Joe Meno's "The Architecture of the Moon." Also serving as a "Welcome!" to Itzel Leaf, who is handling the Spanish translation for this story and we are thrilled to have her on the BULL SPEC team. Without further adieu: the first paragraph of "La Arquitectura de la Luna:"
Para el Lunes la luna había dejado de brillar. En un momento es la forma mas importante del cielo nocturno, y después desaparece, una imagen un poco borrosa debajo de nuestros ojos, y después es sólo una pregunta, un flash, y después nada, sólo un recuerdo. Una vez que la luna deja de brillar en su lugar, el resto de las estrellas se desvanecen rapidamente. Y luego, sin la luna y las estrellas, cada tipo de bulbo pierde su inspiración y empieza a fallar. Finalmente, sólo hay obscuridad una completa y total ausencia de luz tan pronto y como el sol desaparece cada noche. Trágicamente, y de repente el público se encuentra perdido cada atardecer. Aquellos que estan perdidos deben de dormir en sus coches, en los portales, o el el césped de extraños. En la obscuridad, vagan hasta que se sienten cansados, despues se recuestan a donde sea que esten, como huérfanos valientes. En la noche. En la noche, parece que los edificios se han empezado a mover por si solos. Los letreros de las calles cambian de posicion repentinamente. En la noche, las avenidas y bulevares se convierten en callejones sin salida. Sin la luna o las estrellas o la luz de la calle para mantener las cosas en su lugar, la gente se da cuenta de la velocidad en que se mueve el mundo. El efecto, como usted puede imaginar en bastante mareador.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sneak Peek: "L'Architecture de la Lune" (the French translation of Joe Meno's "The Architecture of the Moon").

I thought you might enjoy a sneak peek into the progress of the French translation for Joe Meno's "The Architecture of the Moon." Also serving as a "Welcome!" to Andrew Matte, who is handling the French translation and narration for this story and we are thrilled to have him on the BULL SPEC team. Without further adieu: the first paragraph of "L'Architecture de la Lune:"
Par lundi la lueur de la lune est disparru. Un moment c'est la figure le plus important dans le ciel ensuite c'est parti, un image brumeux sous les paupières, rien de plus qu'une question, un éclair et puis rien du tout, qu'une mémoire. Une fois que la lune ne brille plus dans sa place, les étoiles se décolent. Et puis, sans la lune et les étoiles, chaque ampoule perd son inspiration et commence à tomber. Finalement, il n'y a que l'obscurité, un absence complet de lumière aussi-tôt que le soleil disparait les nuits Tragiquement, le publique s'égare chaque soirée. Ceux qui sont perdu doivent dormir dans leur voiture, dans l'entrée d'une porte ou meme sur la pelouse d'un étranger. Dans l'obscurité, ils trainent jusqu'ils se fatiguent, puis se couchent là où ils sont, comme des orphelins courageux. Les soirs, il parait que les edifices eux memes se displacent. Les signes de rues s'échanges de positions. Les soirs, les avenues et boulevards deviennent cul-de-sacs. Sans la lune ou les étoiles ou lampadaires à garder de quoi en place, les gens se rendent compte la vitesse à laquelle le monde remue. L'effet, comme vous vous imaginez, plutot étourdissant.

Progress, slow and steady.

Already a week overdue on finalizing responses, I am afraid it will likely be a week more yet before every story gets its proper evaluation and response. Please do rest assured that each one will be fully considered in time, and that the main reason for delay is in the interest of allowing such consideration.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reading and reading and reading. And reading. And translating.

Apologies for the slower responses to your submissions than anticipated. There's been enough stories that we truly enjoyed that if we could we'd fill a little (or not so little) anthology.

But rest assured that we are slowly, finally, making headway through the inbox of stories waiting to be read. It's slower going that we'd have liked because we received so many stories which were even better than we'd hoped.

On an update front: we've now found ourselves one team member larger. When we get a chance we'll introduce him more formally, but the short of it is: we will be able to accept stories in French in the next subs period, and at the very least "The Architecture of the Moon" will be translated to (over half-way done already!) and narrated in French as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC SHORT #1 will be: Terry Bisson's "George."

The summer before George was born, Katie and I lived in a house on a high hill. The hill sloped up gently on three sides, covered with thick grass kept short by the wind; but in the back, behind the house, if fell off sharply, down a high, rocky cliff, to the sea. The house was right at the top, about thirty yards from the edge of the cliff, and all we could see of the ocean from there was its top edge, where it tilted up against the sky. The cliff was so high and the wind from the sea was so noisy that usually we couldn't hear the surf, even from the edge of the cliff. I would go there sometimes and peer down; there was no sound except the wind; and the surf moved in and out like great wings, beating against the wind and rock that pinned them down.
BULL SPEC is pleased to announce that BULL SPEC SHORT #1 will be Terry Bisson's "George:"

Monday, November 16, 2009

We are now closed for submissions until 1 February 2010.

Thanks everyone, so much for your submissions. We have so very many excellent stories to re-read and consider, and are, frankly, a bit overwhelmed. So much in just 10 days! All this really means is (1) submissions from now forward will be returned unread; and (2) we hope to actually finish selections in a week to ten days instead of that window moving further and further forward as more great stories come in.

Love and kisses, and only a trifling of goring and trampling,


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Heads up: will be closing submissions for this reading period at midnight Sunday night EST.

We've received so many great submissions, and many other ones quite good, besides. We promised to keep submissions open for 10 days and Sunday night at midnight EST will be that minimum. To be fair to ourselves, our day jobs, our families, and the stories we've already received that we'd be happy to end up selecting, we're going to close for submissions of original short stories at that time so that we can finish our selection process for this first submissions period.

So: keep 'em coming until then! For the first few acknowledgements on days one and two we mentioned we'd hope to have responses in full by the end of the week, but with so many great submissions, our best guess is another 7-10 days or so after we've closed submissions for this reading period. If you've any questions where your story is sitting in our "process" (inbox, acknowledged, considered, shortlisted, etc.) feel free to query. We won't bite. We gore and trample, sure, but not so much with the biting.

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC NOVELLA #1 will be: Alan Smale's "Delusion's Song."

To control Branwell they had to subdue him. To subdue him, they chose to burn him. So, on the fifty-third day of the village’s isolation from the world, a day that might have been April 29th of 1846 if the calendar could be trusted, the farm laborers and wool-combers and idle-hands of Haworth took Branwell out of the Black Bull and incinerated him by proxy.

Samuel coaxed him from the public house readily enough with the promise of free bathtub gin at his home, but as soon as Branwell saw the grinning mob that awaited him in the street, he panicked and bolted.

BULL SPEC is pleased to announce that BULL SPEC NOVELLA #1 will be Alan Smale's "Delusion's Song:"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC ORIGINAL SHORT #1 will be: "Rise Up" by C. S. Fuqua.

Wynne shouted Bobby’s name as the guitar case in the backseat bounced against the ceiling, then back down.

Time suspended.

Undergrowth tore at the car, and a tree slammed into the passenger side. The airbags exploded.
BULL SPEC is pleased to announce that BULL SPEC ORIGINAL SHORT #1 will be C. S. Fuqua's "Rise Up:"

Request for comments: a mutiny on the bounty.

We're still tinkering with how we want to approach original works publication. (For benefit works, initial publication will be in Creative Commons BY-NC-ND or less restrictive at the author's request.) First, again, we'll never, ever sue or threaten to sue anyone for copyright infringement, etc. (Several reasons for this, let us know if you really want the speech on it.) What we're trying to do is both find a way to (1) give us a chance at being the 'authoritative' source for the files for a short period, to try to scratch back to even on the budget and (2) communicate what we would like to have happen with the productions once they're available, if we had our wishes, in a clear way, while also (3) communicating the author's wishes as well for the story text itself, in a clear way.

Call for discussion: ads on the blog.

We don't think we'll need to do ads, and don't particularly want to and may not anyway, but what do our communities think of some minimal ads on the blog (only: never in e-books or audiobooks) to help make sure we can break even and keep going as long as we can? We would treat any ad revenue for the site as if it were a direct donation to the site as described in the "UPDATE" portion of "The BULL SPEC dollar."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Contact information.


Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, Editor & Publisher, sam at bullspec dot com

Mail: (advise querying first before sending ARCs, etc. but fun loot is always welcome)

Bull Spec
PO Box 13146
Durham, NC 27709

Closed for reprint submissions.

We are now closed for reprint submissions. Our capacity for reprint production work is full for 6 months, and we'll post an update when we re-open for reprints in about three months. Original submissions are still open and welcome.

Insanity, we has it.

We would have liked to have this lined up for our "coming out party" last Friday, and it may be a tiny bit premature, but we're in talks to provide video versions of some stories in American Sign Language, accept incoming video stories in American Sign Language, accept incoming stories in text or audio in Hindi, and provide text and audio versions of some stories in Hindi. There's other bits we won't mention yet as they would be even more premature, but things are COOKING, folks, and we couldn't be more excited about some of them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Two more days of reading.

Another little update on progress on the submissions inbox. There were 2 more stories which trickled in late Saturday, and a nice little stream continued Sunday and Monday. Everybody should have at least received an acknowledgement by now, so if you haven't, please give submissions at bullspec dot com a ping. It's hard rejecting any of these stories and our "short list" is starting to grow. Thanks so much for trusting your stories to a new market.

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC BENEFIT NOVELLA #1 will be: William Shunn's Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated "Inclination."

The Manual tells us that in the beginning the Builder decreed six fundamental Machines. These are his six aspects, and all we do we must do with the Six. We need no other machines.

I believe this with all my heart. I do. And yet sometimes I seem to intuit the existence of a seventh Machine, hovering like a blasphemous ghost just beyond apprehension.

There is something wrong with me, and I don’t know what it is.
BULL SPEC is pleased to announce that BULL SPEC BENEFIT NOVELLA #1 will be William Shunn's Hugo- and Nebula-nominated "Inclination:"

We're pleased to announce that BULL SPEC BENEFIT SHORT #1 will be: Joe Meno's "The Architecture of the Moon."

By Monday the moon has stopped glowing. One moment it is the singularly most important shape in the nighttime sky and then it is gone...
BULL SPEC is pleased to announce that BULL SPEC BENEFIT SHORT #1 will be Joe Meno's "The Architecture of the Moon:"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The BULL SPEC dollar.

We've been getting some questions about our "donate what you like" model. So let's walk through a $10 donation to a typical BULL SPEC story:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Attachments, thanks, and stats.

Based on some feedback to our guidelines, we're considering accepting attachments. (We aren't yet but we're thinking about it.) The most likely ones for us are (1) .txt (2) .pdf (most likely to render the same for you and us) and (3) .odc (our internal document format). We have had problems with both .doc and .rtf rendering sanely across operating systems and client software in the past and aren't that interesting in putting our precious pennies into the latest and greatest commercial editors which use .doc as a native format.

Updated guidelines: open for works in Spanish and Chinese; longer form reprints.

We've made a few minor updates to our guidelines, clarifying some language around our publishing schedule and rights, and adding two fairly (we feel) important bits of information:
  1. We are open to Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin) language submissions.
  2. We are open to longer works of reprint fiction.
And thanks again to the handful of continued submissions we're receiving and reading.

First two submissions and updated guidelines.

Thanks SO much to the first two submissions we received last night. One we're still holding for consideration a little while longer, the other involved the hardest thing to do so far: reject a very, very good and fun story which just wasn't right for one of our first two selections.

On that note we updated our guidelines with a little extra direction on content and we apologize for not being more clear from the beginning--it wasn't until we were sitting with a good story at the edge of content we hope to publish if we ever get going, though perhaps it is not posting such stories that will prevent it, that a harder line started to form.

Again, we're honored that two such fine stories made it our way last night, thanks very much to the two writers who noticed our "We're Here!" sign and trusted us with their submissions.

And "looky here," another submission rolled in this morning... thanks so much, folks!

Friday, November 6, 2009

How it works.

The following is a work of fiction depicting how we imagine this is going to work, in our folly of imperfect wisdom, clouded by ignorance:

BULL SPEC submissions guidelines

UPDATED: 2010-10-15 at 09:00 EST:

Note: These are old, out-of-date guidelines and rantings here for "historical" purposes. Please visit this link for up-to-date guidelines and status.

In short: send a story or poem (text, attachment, whatever) to: submissions at bullspec dot com and let me know: (1) where you are writing from as I try to keep some balance between local and global content; and (2) if it has been previously published and if so, where. I prefer to receive submissions in a standard manuscript format such as William Shunn's Proper Manuscript Format but I'm not terrifically picky. A word count is quite helpful as well.

In more length:
 See this post for more up to date details on what BULL SPEC is looking for. Note: these guidelines are a tiny bit outdated, but will do in a pinch. The main difference is that print rights are also needed as, well, BULL SPEC is also a printed magazine.

[Click "Read more" to get more, much more, of the not so "in short" version.]

Welcome to BULL SPEC

Welcome to a new speculative fiction market, BULL SPEC, based in Durham, North Carolina, United States.

We're going to start slow and small and make sure we have things right and that we grow the right way if we're lucky enough to need it. We'll aim to start with quarterly stories, move to bimonthly, monthly, etc. when we can, with a yearly e-book and print anthology of the best of the best. But to be realistic that is months, maybe years, maybe never, away.

But we're going to start some things the right way from the very beginning: